Charlie Webster Gets Earful for Lying About Voting

This is an incredible piece of audio, courtesy of Bruce Burgoine at Dirigo Blue. Listen as Maine GOP Chair Charlie Webster gets absolutely destroyed by WGAN hosts Ken Altshuler and Mike Violette as they challenge some of his baseless claims about student voting.


Portland Mayor's Race Social Media Standings

Photographer/blogger Corey Templeton of the Portland Daily Photo blog has put together an infographic showing the current Twitter followers and Facebook likes for the fifteen Portland mayoral candidates.

Michael Brennan, David Marshall, and Ethan Strimling all have strong showings, likely due to their high name recognition after having held other political offices.

One surprise is the online strength of Jed Rathband, who has less political experience but is obviously running an engaging social media campaign.

Another is the online weakness of current mayor Nick Mavadones, whom this graph shows to have only 29 Twitter followers and no official Facebook presence.

More at Down East.

Big Talk: Portland Mayoral Race

This week on Big Talk, hosts Suzanne Murphy and Al Brewer delve into the details and questions concerning Portland's upcoming and heavily contested mayoral race.

Who is running? How will having an elected mayor change the city of Portland? What duties will the new mayor have? What is ranked choice voting?

Download this episode here. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Radical Redistricting

I've written a Kennebec Journal column and a Down East post recently on the issue of congressional redistricting. The first looks at the effect the big changes the GOP has proposed would have on Lewiston/Auburn and the second is a report from the recent, well-attended public hearing on the competing proposals.

In some ways, the Republicans have already won. By presenting such a radical plan with such a straight face, they've pushed the boundaries of what's acceptable to talk about in terms of partisan gerrymandering in Maine. They may not get what they want this time, but when it comes to redistricting we're certainly no longer having the same conversation about small changes and continuity of representation that we have for the past 50 years.

Here's Lewiston mayor Larry Gilbert discussing what the GOP plan would mean for his city and region of the state, via Andi Parkinson:

Blog Apology

Time for one of those cliche blog posts where I promise to write more: Sorry guys, I've been engulfed in the People's Veto signature gathering effort lately and haven't written much here. (I haven't even found time to crosspost my pieces that have been published at Down East and in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.)

Now that the signature drive is over (and wildly successful!) I'll try to be a better blogger.

LePage Taps Favorite Lobbyist for MPBN Board

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is no fan of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, which operates Maine's only statewide network of television and radio stations. On the campaign trail he expressed a desire -- on MPBN cameras -- to punch the network's State House correspondent. In office he tried to zero out state funding for the broadcaster.

Now he has his first chance to nominate someone to MPBN's governing board. As I report in the new Portland Phoenix, his first choice is none other than Ann Robinson, the corporate lobbyist who already serves as a trusted advisor and a member of the panel he uses to find judicial nominees.

As readers of this blog well know, Robinson has also overseen the compilation of the governor's regulatory reform agenda -- past and future -- including the cutting-and-pasting of language from industry and corporate memos into the proposals LePage submitted to legislators. That she does this while remaining the registered lobbyist of many interested parties apparently doesn't trouble the governor, whose press secretary has failed to respond to requests for comment on this point.

Robinson isn't alone. Another Preti attorney, Carlisle McLean, serves as LePage's natural resources advisor. Pierce Atwood corporate lobbyist Patricia Aho currently heads the Department of Environmental Protection. But at least McLean and Aho had to give up their day jobs.

(Cross-posted from World Wide Woodard)

Read more »

The LePage Files, Volume I

Maine Governor Paul LePage's regulatory reform agenda was created by lifting entire passages from memos received by favored lobbyists and industry groups, confidential administration dossiers reveal, suggesting he and his staff made little attempt to shape policies themselves.

The dossiers, obtained via a Freedom of Access Act request, also indicate some of the governor's priorities going forward, including measures targeting striking workers and Maine's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Who wanted to weaken air quality standards? Who inserted language to reduce all environmental laws to the weaker federal standards? Who wants the same done with civil rights and restaurant tip sharing laws? These answers and many more are in my feature in this week's Portland Phoenix.

I requested the documents back in March, after the governor's then-communications director, Dan Demeritt, refused to answer questions about the origins of controversial elements of the governor's infamous "Phase I" regulatory reform agenda, much of which was subsequently rejected by the Republican-controlled legislature. They provide a detailed look into how LePage formulates policy and whom he sees himself as representing, issues I've written about in two previous Phoenix stories, "LePage's Secret Bankers" and "LePage's Secret Puppeteers."
Read more »

D'Amboise: Obama is Not a Christian

One of Snowe's Republican Primary challengers, Scott D'Amboise, revealed in an interview with a writer for former Bush aide David Frum's blog FrumForum that he doesn't believe President Obama is a Christan.

The piece quotes D'amboise as saying "The President, he says he is Christian but yet he’s exercises a lot of Muslim faith too. Me personally, I’m a Christian conservative. I don’t hold any malice to anybody, whether they are Muslim, or Jewish, or Catholic, or anything else. I just believe that he needs to come forward with his views a little bit clearer."

Asked if he believed Obama is a secret muslim, D'Amboise apparently responded "I don’t know if he is or isn’t, but I don’t believe he’s a Christian."

The blog post isn't the best written piece on the internet, and does a lot of characterizing of D'Amboise's opinions while only providing very short quotes from the candidate, but the statements above seem both clear and extreme.

Economic Advisor Charged With Domestic Assault

Not much to say about this one:

"A well-known local Republican activist and investment counselor who is also a member of Gov. Paul LePage's Economic Forecasting Commission was arrested Saturday on a charge of domestic assault.

"Lawrence E. Dwight Jr., 54, better known as J Dwight, was arrested at his Wilton home after an incident involving his wife."

Dwight is also a member of the Maine Heritage Policy Center advisory board, a regular columnist for the Sun Journal and a prolific poster on As Maine Goes.

Update: From the Governor's Office:

"I expect Mr. Dwight will voluntarily step down from his position while the legal issues regarding his recent arrest are pending. Domestic violence is a serious crime with far reaching consequences. I don’t want these allegations to interfere in any way with the important work of the Consensus Economic Forecasting Committee."

Quote of the Day: Ouch

"So, there is no woman political columnist to speak of in Maine. That’s not my opinion, that’s a fact."

-Sen. Cynthia Dill, on her blog.


"Ouch, I'm hurt."

-BDN columnist Pat LaMarche, in the first comment.